Julio Jones has said all the right things about his toe injury, one that has limited him all season. But that doesn't mean his foot hasn't been an issue.
When the Super Bowl ends, Jones will receive a full evaluation on his foot, sources say, and going under the knife is either likely or possible depending on whom you ask. Jones has also been dealing with a sprained ankle, but that will not require surgery.
If Jones needs surgery, the procedure to fix torn ligaments associated with turf toe will be measured in months but not expected to delay his 2017 season.
He still finished with 1,409 yards with six touchdowns in the regular season.
Jones battled the injury, called turf toe or a toe sprain, for most of the season. He's been a consistent presence on the injury report, and even missed two games (both wins) in December. It improved before he reaggravated it against Seattle in the playoffs.
After the bye week prior to the Super Bowl, Jones mostly rested his foot, which one would think would significantly improve the ailment.
Yet asked this week if that was the case, Jones was noncommittal.
"It is what it is," Jones said this week, "but a good week for anybody just relaxes the body and helps you get back to being healthy."
Later in the week, Jones described himself as "full go," though he was officially listed as limited. He has acknowledged he's in pain, but no more than other teammates.
Jones has had foot injuries in the past, though this most recent one is not related to the issues of previous years. In 2013, for instance, he fractured a bone in his foot and missed the end of the season.
A former track athlete, Jones is intricately in-tuned with his body and as positive as he's been publicly, he knows it's not right. Accordingly, his incredible toughness has not been questioned.
"The main thing is," offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has said, "It's not so much up to Julio (Jones), it's going to be up to the rest of the guys."